by Sukey HowardJuly, 2000
In the Fall is Jeffrey Lent's first novel, and it's extraordinary. Though it begins much as Cold Mountain (the debut bestseller to which it's invariably compared), with a battle-scarred soldier walking home at the end of the Civil War, In the Fall takes its uniquely American saga to the eve of the Depression, encompassing three generations, and three men father, son, and grandson whose fates are shadowed by their disquieting heritage. Norman Pelham, the Civil War veteran, came home with Leah, a former slave haunted by a bitter secret, and at the novel's end, their grandson, having exposed the secret, heads west with his distant cousin, an odd, passionate young woman from the North Carolina town where his grandmother was born the circle devastatingly complete. Stephen Lang's quietly intense reading underscores the immediacy of Lent's prose.
Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.